It is astonishing that this is just the debut release by Ancient Plastix aka Liverpudlian polymath Paul Rafferty; such is the sincere complexity of its 10 tracks, the gentle feel of immediacy and familiarity (but never plagiarism) that radiates from within its core and the overall cohesion with which it establishes its mesmeric presence. For a supposedly ambient release, it features a constantly evolving parade of rhythmic furrows and is rife with currents of emotion, fluid and unbending.
Rafferty claims to take inspiration from industrial locales, but if that is the case, then he hasn’t just replicated some abrasive klang to conjure a sense of place, rather he’s chosen something less obvious but infinitely more palatable; welding the distracting throb of heavy machinery to the euphoric rush of elation that comes with physical interaction.
In essence the songs are taken from a home recording session undertaken last summer using the limited technology available at its maker’s disposal, but from the outset it conjures worlds far grander and panoramic than the one in which it was conceived. Its confluence of restrictions work together to laser cut the elegance of its impressive spatial design.
It calls to mind Jerry Goldsmith’s iconic and delicate score for the opening scenes of the film Alien. As the hissing jets of Late Summer Low come over the speakers, and a rubbery bass skips around, your mind pictures industrial sprinklers attacking the vacant but well worn corridors of the Nostromo and you feel the machinations of some gargantuan industry rumbling somewhere way below your feet. Dead Body Drawing is what you’d expect to hear if you were walking round that shipping domicile’s hypersleep chambers, observing Ripley and co placidly reposed, dreaming of electric sheep.
The romantic droning of The Dream Within The Dream pulls you away from claustrophobic sterile interiors in favour of the brooding abyss of deep space and the ambiguities it contains. Mechanical chords shudder and (xeno)morph out of synch with granular sirens staggering beneath immobile layers of string work. On Endurance Dream a series of miniature temple bells and wooden pipes seem to lightly spar for attention and final track Rhythm Helps Your Tired Hips Move swells with notions of rhythmic muscle memory.
Characterised by its densely enigmatic renderings of space and vivid sentiments, be they mechanically or manually transmitted, this surprising album should certainly rouse you from the deepest most agreeable of slumbers, or, should you so desire, place you comfortably into one.